Thursday, September 5, 2013

On Marketing

Last night, I had one of those epiphanies that seem to be self-evident, but sometimes are not. I went out for dinner with a group of lively, amazing female friends. 

That was excitement enough, but most of them had recently read my new book, SweetKaroline, and they actually wanted to talk about it! They didn’t have to. We could’ve mentioned the book, perhaps, and moved on. They were genuinely excited about Sweet Karoline. I believe they honestly liked it and think it’s my best work.

Our discussions ranged from “who wrote the diary?” to debates about race and bigotry and child abuse to questions about how a book or its author becomes well known.

As to the latter, I have often slipped into pity mode on this score. I tweet, do paid advertising, plaster myself all over the free sites, and generally try every trick I can think of to promote my books. My novels aren’t easy reads, I have to admit. But I know there are people out there (like me) who love to read challenging books. So I keep slogging and trust me, sometimes I am quite dispirited.

Then along comes that group of intelligent, spirited, interested women (whom I call the Bosco Bunch). They are genuinely excited for me. They get the messages in the book. One of them told me she identified with a huge number of passages. Another said she had garnered a new interest in the life of black and native Canadians. Those moments made every single second of cyber-selling worthwhile. Every doubt that I had about being an author was instantly dispelled. It didn’t matter that most of the world is sailing along without knowing my name or Sweet Karoline or the Emily Taylor mysteries. The readers who have ventured into my novels and are happy that they got their money’s worth are the reasons for publishing. 

Meeting with my readers face-to-face is the best possible scenario. Unfortunately, I can’t always do that. Thus I reach out to them through cyberspace.

As for the marketing grind, which I usually despise,   thanks to
I at last have a mantra. Here’s what they say about book marketing:
“…accept your uniqueness. You are a writer and a publicist, with your own voice, style, ideas, and experiences.  Be who you are meant to be.”

So I will pursue more face-to-face marketing opportunities, because, although they may be fewer and won’t bring me fame and fortune, they are the kind I love. They are “me”.

At the same time, I vow to embrace the tweeting and good-reading and shelfari-ing and facebooking and googling and well, you know the drill. As a writer I don’t love them, but as a publicist I shall!


Go here for my books:

The Sweet Karoline launch dinner was
held at our favourite restaurant, Fanzorelli's.

If you live near Brampton, ON, go get some great food!

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